It's easy being in Chattanooga to think of the government shutdown as some D.C. area political drama. Maybe it's something you watch on TV or read about, but it can all seem distant because it doesn't impact you. I hear the indifference when I talk to people at church on Sunday, in my neighborhood, at Publix, in car-line. A small shake of the head and sigh, "Isn't that too bad," they say when discussing furloughed workers.
Why do I care? Because I am the wife and mom in a federal furloughed family. I am living the anxiety caused by this shutdown.
My husband is one of those who stand watch and run in the darkness, working with local law enforcement, to try and keep this opioid epidemic from taking over our towns and neighborhoods. I pray for the safety of he and his agents; that they remain focused and clear-headed, even though they're carrying the financial anxiety this shutdown brings. The anxiety of not knowing how long we'll have to stretch what's in the bank account or if we can even stretch it to the end, because it's so uncertain when the government will re-open.
There are numerous federal agencies in the Chattanooga area, such as DEA, ATF, and FBI, whose federal agents continue to serve their mission and this country, and this community every day since Dec. 22 without pay. My family is not the only family going through this in our area.
We're not asking for special treatment. We're not asking for anything other than the men and women who serve this nation, regardless of politics, be treated as professionals. That means these hard working federal agents should be getting paid for doing their job. No policy debate should be allowed to override this.
If you really want to thank federal agents for their service in helping to keep Chattanooga and the surrounding areas safe, then take a moment today to call Congressman Fleischmann, Senator Alexander and Senator Blackburn and ask them to re-open the government now so federal agents can get paid NOW.